Mark DuBois - World Renowned Lyric Tenor
Veteran tenor will sing for supper

By Peter Goddard
Toronto Star

Most star tenors - Ben Heppner or Placido Domingo - see themselves as the main course. Like, the opera ain't over until the big guy is polished off.

Not Mark DuBois. He thinks he's dessert.

Specifically, he wants to be the final goodie after chef Melva Buelle has done her thing for the customers at the Limelight Dinner Theatre (2026 Yonge Street.) tomorrow and Saturday and next Friday and Saturday.

Then it'll be coffee, tea and tenor. "I'm the closer, the nightcap," he says. Translated, this means he'll sing a little post-nosh Rigoletto, a scoop of Neapolitan songs, plus "some classic Broadway, even 'Danny Boy.'

The tab for dinner and DuBois is $54. "But it will all cost less than it would to see me in any other venue."

That last sentence comes on behalf of the promoter of the show - yep, the very same Mark DuBois.

At 44, he's part of the most remarkable generation of tenors the country has produced, with Richard Margison and Michael Schade along with Heppner. Indeed, DuBois was first out of the chute when it came to getting career-advancing reviews and plum jobs.

He might also be the first to map out a post-opera career.

"There've been times in my career that I've literally been booked solid for a couple of years," he says. "Everybody does that. It's called making hay when the sun shines. And most successful artists do this for 10 years, if they still have their voices left."

And if they can stand the pressures from the constant travel and the conflicting demands...

But adding to his repertoire some conducting (like at Oakville's annual Waterfront Festival in June, some directing and pops performances, he cuts down on the travel and can spend more time with his three daughters (ages 19, 17 and 13 from his first marriage) and his 21-month old daughter from his second marriage.

He can now watch from the outside how his peripatetic peers like Margison are doing. "They're my friends," he adds. "But they've been doing (the opera grind) for 10 years and I think it's wearing them down.

"Besides, the way the arts are going in this country, nobody can afford not to be entrepreneurial. I have to think that people who will go and see me with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra would also want to see me in a more intimate setting."

Part of his multi-media blitz is an up-coming CD of Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, and Brahms lieder. A more pops-oriented collection will follow that...

Now, if he has a dream, it would be to conduct opera. "I've worked with hundreds of conductors - remember I've given some 3,000-odd performances - and I can tell you there are only a few 'singers' conductors.' I'd like that.

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